Fire Marks

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Full title:  Firemarks:  A Workbook On Low-Temperature Smoke Firing
By Cheryl Herr-Rains

This book focuses on procedures of ceramic low temperature smoke firing and surface decoration, which produce "fire marked" pieces.  Low-temperature smoke firing techniques are directly derived from ceramic traditions in indigenous societies.  American raku came originally from Japan.  Pit-firing was and is used by Native American and African potters.  Sagger-firing has European and Chinese roots.  Current methods have changed considerably from their original forms because of changes in technology, materials, and the cultural assumptions of the ceramicists.  Contemporary artists who have acquired these traditional skills are using them as springboards to new possibilities.

The visual effect of these firing methods gives the finished work a feeling of being a weathered or ancient object.  The results produce soft areas of pasted colors with contrasts of black or grey.  If you are attempting to stretch the creative possibilities in your ceramic work, you may wish to incorporate these results in your expressive repertoire.

Fire Marks provides "how-to" instructions for the procedures to develop your own style and confidence in using low temperature smoke firing.